KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Brandon Koch is built for big moments. In 2023, those will come with the Kansas City Monarchs.
The right-hander has re-signed with the American Association club for the upcoming season, the Monarchs announced Tuesday.
Koch, 29, returns for his second season with the Monarchs. He was one of the most dependable relievers in the American Association in 2022.
“There’s really no other place I’d want to play than Kansas City,” Koch said. “It’s going to be a fun year.”
The former star at Dallas Baptist University made 50 appearances for Kansas City last year, fourth-most in the league. He finished the campaign with a 4.22 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 49 innings of work.
— American Association (@AA_Baseball) July 17, 2022
His time with the Monarchs was just the beginning of a stellar campaign. In the winter, he starred for Guasave in the Mexican Pacific Winter League.
The team’s closer, Koch racked up 19 saves (second-most in the league) in 38 appearances with a 1.59 ERA. He helped Guasave to a league finals appearance. The outstanding season earned him a chance to represent the Mexican league in the Caribbean Series, throwing two scoreless appearances.
La casa se respeta 😤
— Liga ARCO Mexicana del Pacífico (@Liga_Arco) January 27, 2023
“Every game feels like a playoff game because of the fans,” Koch said of winter ball. “When you’re playing in front of fans that care that much, it just makes you want to get the job done that much more. Every time I pitched, the game was on the line.”
Koch’s durability was a highlight of his 2022 season, appearing in 90 games between the Monarchs, the Mexican league and the Caribbean Series. The right-hander says that was a goal of his going in, especially after battling injuries in affiliated ball.
“I told Joe, ‘I want to throw every day.'” Koch said. “I think there was one time I asked for a day off, and that was after I’d thrown like three, four games in a row.”
“He always wanted the ball,” Monarchs manager Joe Calfapietra said of Koch. “He was really reliable for us, a high-strikeout guy.”
Koch has thrown out of the bullpen his entire career, going back to his days at DBU. He put up a 1.26 ERA as the Patriots’ closer in 2015, earning 14 saves in 26 total appearances.
Drafted in the fourth round by Tampa Bay in 2015, Koch has made it as high as Double-A in four seasons with the Rays and Twins organizations. He signed with the AAPB’s Milwaukee Milkmen in 2021 before inking a deal with Minnesota just before the Association season began.
The Minnesota Twins have purchased the contract of one of our newest Milkmen, Brandon Koch. Best of luck in the Twins organization! pic.twitter.com/xZq3sSpWrn
— Milwaukee Milkmen (@MKEMilkmen) May 13, 2021
Koch is the latest 2022 star to return to the Monarchs’ pitching staff. Alex Valdez, who was the team’s closer down the stretch last year, re-signed January 18. Matt Hartman, who started the 2022 AAPB All-Star Game, re-signed along with reliever Jordan Martinson earlier this month.
The Monarchs open their 2023 season on May 12 on the road. The club’s home opener is set for May 19. Fans can check out the team’s full roster at MonarchsBaseball.com/Roster.
About the Kansas City Monarchs
The Kansas City Monarchs are a professional baseball team in the American Association, an MLB Partner League. This year, they are celebrating their 20th year of baseball in Kansas City, Kansas. In 2020, the team partnered with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and changed their name from the T-Bones to the Monarchs in honor of the legendary Negro League franchise that played from 1920 to 1965. The Monarchs won ten Negro American League championships and two Negro League World Series championships in their history. The team featured numerous notable players over the years, including Hall of Famers Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks, and Buck O’Neil.
About the American Association
The American Association of Professional Baseball played its first season in 2006. It is a professional partner league that is affiliated with Major League Baseball but not specifically with any one team. The league consists of 12 teams located primarily in the Midwest and the South of the United States. Its season runs from May to September and features players who are looking to showcase their talents for a chance to be signed by a major league team.